When you give hope to others, you find hope for yourself.

closeup-tear

This was written over the course of the past few days. I would just jot down my disjointed thoughts, and then I tried to piece them together in a way that would make sense, without losing the overall feel of what I was trying to say, and I didn’t really expand or elaborate on any of my thoughts, so please keep that in mind as you read. If you would like me to elaborate, leaves comment with what you’d like me to elaborate on, and I will.

The phone rings. I take a deep breath, and pick up the phone and smile as I say “Hello, this is Joel. How can I serve you today?”

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Working is the hardest thing. I find myself at the front desk a lot these days. A place I need to be cheery, a place I need to smile, answer questions, and give hope. Hope I don’t feel. But behind the perfectly plastered smile on my face, my mind swirls with questions. Why? How? Somehow reaching out for understanding that doesn’t seem to come.

Then I read what others say. What the news says. The picture they paint. And I don’t see it. Instead I see someone broken, hurting, and in need of redemption. I don’t feel what society tells me to feel. Instead of anger, hate, rage, disgust, I feel sad, heartbroken, like someone died. And in a way, someone has.

In a way, a lot of people have.

So many people will never be the same. So many lives have had something ripped away from them. Peace, security, trust.

Trust.

And when trust is betrayed, we get angry. But when people are hurt, anger will never heal. Healing will only come when we replace anger with love. Redemption can only come from love. So many people are hurting right now. Spreading anger isn’t going to bring a single one of those people healing. We need to instead let our words be of love and support for everyone. And this love needs to come double from those of us who call ourselves the church. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

Maybe, if we can inject love into the situation, we can see healing come to each of people involved in and surrounding the situation. Maybe we can stop the cycle. Maybe, just maybe, we can actually change people.

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As my mind still swirls, as I find it hard to focus, I find myself asking questions. The worst kind of questions: questions that really have no answer. Questions that can’t be explained. And then the phone starts to ring. Someone comes in needing hope. And so I take all those swirling, twirling, questions and push them down, plaster a smile on my face that I don’t really feel, and answer the phone. And I give hope. Because when you give hope to others, you find hope for yourself.

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Memories and Wisdom

There is a lot of change coming. Some for me, some for friends, some for people I don’t really know, but it is coming for all of us. We can’t escape it. Change is a part of life, and change is good, but it’s not always easy.

For me, one of the big changes is losing a place where I have so many memories. I can’t really say too much about this yet since I’m not sure how public the knowledge is, but some of my best memories with some of my best friends happened at this place, and now it’s changing and we’re losing it. I’m excited for the possibilities in the new place, but the old place always felt like home, a place of comfort, a place of rest and peace.

With that change, I have been asked to help develop a few things. And I am so excited to help, but I find myself wondering why I was asked. I don’t think I have any great wisdom, or any great insight on these things, but I have been asked to help. So I find myself excited for the changes, for the role I get to play in these coming adventures, but I find myself nervous because I know I am not equipped to do it. But I also know that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. So if the people who have prayerfully asked me to help them with this believe I am the right man for the job, then I must trust that God knows what He is doing and that He will give me what I need to do it…

I don’t know what the road ahead looks like, but I’m oddly ok with that….

The Old Blue Chair

“There’s a blue rockin’ chair,

sittin’ in the sand.

Weathered by the storms,

and well oiled hands.

It sways back and forth,

with the help of the winds.

Seems to always be there,

like an ol’ trusted friend.

 

I’ve read a lot of books, wrote a few songs.

Looked at my life, where it’s goin’, where it’s gone.

I’ve seen the world, through a bus windshield.

But nothing compares,

to the way that I see it,

to the way that I see it,

to the way that I see it,

when I sit in that Old Blue Chair.

 

From that chair I’ve caught

a few fish and some rays,

and I’ve watched boats sail,

in and out of Cinnamon Bay.

I let go of a lover,

that took a piece of my heart.

Prayed many times for forgiveness,

and a brand new start.

 

That chair was my bed one New Year’s night,

when I passed out from too much Malibu and diet,

and I woke up to a hundred mosquito bites. I swear.

Got ’em all sittin’ right there, in the Old Blue Chair.

 

There’s a blue rockin’ chair,

sittin’ in the sand.

Weathered by the storms,

and well oiled hands.”

~ “Old Blue Chair” By Kenny Chesney

I know many people don’t like country music, but I love country. I was listening to this song a while ago, and I thought to my self “wow, this song is so cool, it speaks to such an important idea” it speaks to the idea of an Old Blue Chair, that is, it speaks to having a place of solitude. You see, we all need to have an Old Blue Chair of our own somewhere. A place where we can sit and think. I love the lines from the chorus: I’ve read a lot of books, wrote a few songs. Looked at my life, where it’s goin’, where it’s gone. I’ve seen the world, through a bus windshield. But nothing compares, to the way that I see it, when I sit in that Old Blue Chair.”  And that is the idea I love of the Old Blue Chair, it is that place where when the world gets us down, when we need to re-evaluate our life, when we need to see the world differently we can go to.

So here is my question to you, do you have an Old Blue Chair somewhere? Do you have a place to go when the world is just more than you can take? At Devil’s Den in Gettysburg, there is a rock I called Pride Rock because it looked like Pride Rock from The Lion King. For the year that I was out there in Gettysburg Master’s Commission, that was my Old Blue Chair. When I had to just go and think and look at life, I would climb out there. It was a great spot because it was around people, but very few ever ventured out that far to climb, and the few that did were very respectful of my space. That was where I would go to pray, to work, to read, and sometime to just goof off. I want to encourage you guys to go and find/create our own Old Blue Chair somewhere. Maybe you are saying to yourself “but I don’t have anywhere I can go”, sometime just a corner of a room works, just a space set aside for prayer, or maybe you go walk a path at a park, or the track at school, or something like that, be creative, there are many Old Blue Chairs out there, you just have to look for them.

Peace and Serenity

So, for those of you who don’t know, my sister got married on Saturday. It was a beautiful ceremony, and yes, I did manage to hold it together  (I did tear up a few times, but I didn’t cry).

But with the wedding comes the chaos of the getting ready, the (what felt like) 5,000,000 people, and the tons of “congratulations” (like I had something to do with getting her hitched, lol.) Then after the wedding, we have all the party and the family and friends who come to the house to change and gather their stuff and all that.

It’s a lot of fun, but for an introvert like me, it’s maddening, draining, and overwhelming.

I usually deal well with being in situations like that, but this was probably one of the most draining experiences of my life. It got me thinking, why was this so draining on me?

Then it hit me.

From the time I got home on Thursday night until the time I left on Saturday night to go back to Gap, I didn’t have time to myself to pray or read my bible.

No peace.

No serenity.

No time for God.

I know. It’s really disturbing to me that my time was pushed away so easily. That time to ourselves is so important. We need to take time to relax, de-stress, and chill with God. Those are the most important times in our day. They are the times that give us energy and the power to keep on going on.

Never forget to spend time with yourself. To come back to earth, reflect and gain perspective .